Banking 101: Save Money on Travel by Banking Smartly11/23/2010
After 6 years of a love-hate relationship, I’ve finally broken up with my bank and moved all accounts to a new one.
My old bank, Chase, provides convenience, security, and a wide availability of branches and ATM’s across the U.S. My new bank, Capital One, waives all bank related ATM fees across the world, has the best small business benefits I’ve seen, and allows me to keep small amounts of cash without incurring banking fees.
I outlined in an earlier post why everyone should open up a Capital One credit card for international travel. The banking benefits are just as superb.
Why make a post about banking?
My goal is to save you the most money possible as you travel. The bank you choose can have a HUGE impact on the amount of funds available to you as you travel.
Let’s take a look how.
I mentioned above that I spent close to 6 years as a Chase banking customer. My accounts included both personal and small business banking. Throughout the years I maintained a very good relationship with my bankers.
However, what my account managers could not control was the amount of banking fees I was racking up. I finally reached my breaking point with Chase last month due to these ridiculous fees.
As a “valued’ Chase business banker I received the best small business account Chase offers. Nevertheless, I still incurred a $12 “account maintenance fee” every month.
The only way to avoid this fee is to maintain an average balance of $5,000.00 a month or use my Chase Debit Card 5 times a month. I move money around too much to maintain the 5k balance, and the benefits of a credit card render my debit card useless for business transactions.
That’s $144 a year just to keep one account open!
While the account maintenance fees are rather annoying, it wasn’t enough to put me over the edge. The main reason why I switched banks is because of Chase’s policy on overdrafts, also called NSF (non-sufficient funds) fees.
Last year across all my Chase accounts I spent over $1,000 on banking fees alone! About 70% on NSF fees.
Many of the practices Chase used last year are currently deemed illegal. I won’t go into great detail but here’s a post that explains a similar situation I went through with Chase NSF fees. The experience was quite painful, like getting charged for a $32 dollar hamburger.
My main frustration is that I cannot put a stop to these fees. After incurring a $32 non-refundable NSF fee due to a mistake a company made overcharging me, I finally put an end to the madness and switched banks.
Why Capital One over the myriad of other banking options?
1. Capital One offers the HIGHEST yielding returns on savings accounts on the planet right now. 1.30% APY from Capital One Direct Bank.
2. All international ATM banking fees waived. No explanation need.
3. No monthly account service charges and no continuous NSF fees. Once my account goes negative all transactions will be halted.
4. Double miles on all purchases with Capital One debit or credit card. Huge opportunity for travelers. They even throw in 5,000 bonus miles for signing up.
5. Helpful bankers and superb customer service. Ran into a view issues setting up my accounts and these issues were seamlessly resolved.
As you can see I am a big fan of Capital One. They offer the best credit cards and banking accounts for the international traveler that I have seen. Everyone’s needs are different, and further research is needed to find the best account for you.
If you plan on spending a good deal of your time overseas, you can’t go wrong setting up a Capital One account. As a new account owner I’m hopeful to save money banking to spend more on my travels.